After our trip to London, my boyfriend and I will be going to the Netherlands, France and Italy. A Schengen Tourist Visa is needed for Filipinos intending to visit countries within the Schengen Area. I applied for my boyfriend’s tourist visa at the Italian embassy through VIA Center Cebu because it was too much of a hassle to go to Manila.
To be able to know which embassy you should apply in, here are a few things that I’ve learned through reading other blogs and websites and from asking VIA Center:
- If the traveller will go to just one Schengen country, he must apply at the embassy of the country that he will be visiting.
- If the traveller will go to two or more Schengen countries, he must apply at the embassy of the country wherein he will stay the longest during the trip.
- If the traveller will stay equal days in each Schengen country, he must apply at the embassy of the country which he will first enter.
Since VIA Center here in Cebu only accommodates applications to the Italian embassy, we decided that we’ll just stay in Italy longer than in the Netherlands and France. The application was a little more complicated than the UK Tourist Visa but it was way easier still than applying for a US Tourist Visa. My boyfriend submitted his application on April 27, 2016.
Scheduling your appointment
You may begin your application by scheduling your appointment. I called Via Center Cebu’s landline number but they told me to schedule my appointment through the following hotline numbers: (Php 32 per minute)
PLDT & Smart – 1-909-101-2200
Bayantel – 1-903-2200
Globe – 1-900-101-2200
You may schedule your appointment from Mondays to Fridays, 8am until 6pm except holidays. You may also choose not to schedule an appointment and do a walk in. Walk-ins will only be accommodated from 1pm-3pm depending on the availability of slots.
Click here for the Schengen Visa Document Checklist. It’s quite a long list so make sure to prepare all the documents in the list that is relevant to you ahead of time.
Some tips from my experience:
- We did not book an appointment ahead of time. I was a little busy and did not know when I can gather all the documents so we just did a walk in. We waited for I think an hour to be accommodated. From what I can remember, they only accept walk-ins from 1pm until 3pm. But there may be times when walk-ins will not be accommodated because some of the applicants in the morning might come back in the afternoon to submit their complete documents. You may or may not book ahead of time.
- I had a few mistakes with my hotel reservation and cover letter but VIA Center Cebu had a computer (free to use) and a printer (for a fee) that I was able to use to reprint the files there so it was pretty convenient.
- We got our Travel Insurance from Blue Cross. It covered our 30-day stay in the UK and the Schengen area plus 15 days after our trip. We paid Php 3,532 or 65 Euros per person for our insurance. You will need to bring this along with you on the trip as well.
- Sample Travel Itinerary – ITINERARY
- Sample Introductory Letter – Introductory Letter + Checklist
- We paid Php 3,125 for the Visa fee and Php 1,100 for VIA’s services.
- My boyfriend’s passport was mailed through 2GO and we received his visa 15 working days after we submitted his application.
VIA Center Cebu is located at 1004 Keppel Bldg, Cardinal Rosales Ave. cor. Samar Loop, Cebu City. You may call them for brief inquiries at (032) 232-7233.
As with any other tourist visa application, applying for the Schengen Tourist Visa will require compiling a lot of documents and spending a lot of time booking for flights and tickets and creating an itinerary but nothing was too hard or too complicated for travel junkies like us. We can’t wait for our next adventure!!! ;))